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Future Women in Fintech Program: A Reflection

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By Roxanne Jackson, Head of Campus Recruiting 

“Who run the world? Girls!” That’s what I was singing in my head over and over again during our first-ever Future Women in Fintech program. I know it sounds cheesy, but there’s simply no better way to describe the overwhelming sense of inspiration and empowerment I felt after seeing all the female power in the “room”. Beyonce was really onto something... 

Financial services, and fintech specifically, aren’t necessarily known as female-dominated industries. In fact, they’re generally quite the opposite, and it’s no secret we have work to do to increase female representation. With campus recruiting getting more competitive, and the recruiting season starting earlier each year, we knew we had to change our approach to get top female talent to join us—especially when they have so many choices.  

So, I dreamed up a plan to run an event: invite bright, ambitious female college sophomores and juniors from around the country—who are considering a career in fintech—to meet our incredible women at MarketAxess, virtually of course. It would be our small role in helping to bridge the gender gap in the industry. Plus, the most impressive women from the program would be invited to interview for internships or full-time opportunities for the following summer; a win-win for everyone. 

And that’s how our first-ever Future Women in Fintech event was born! Twenty-six amazing young women—Business or Computer Science majors from top universities like UCLA, University of Texas at Austin, Harvard, and many more—joined us for a one-day immersive program. Virtually experiencing what we do and what it’s like to work at MarketAxess, and participating in a variety of professional development activities. Here’s some of my favorite highlights of the day: 

First thing in the morning, introductions and ice breakers. Many of the students had fascinating backgrounds. It struck me how incredibly diverse and impressive this group of women was. I was already fired up about the day. 

Students heard from Julie, our head of HR, about what we do at MarketAxess but, more importantly, she shared her personal experiences as a woman working in financial services, and how she was able to overcome the challenges she’s faced throughout her career. To watch the participants so engaged and energized from the outset was exciting for me. 

Next was an overview from Christine, who leads our trading technologies. It’s rare to see a woman in a senior tech leadership position, and students immediately recognized the influence of this female tech leader here at MarketAxess. They were captivated by her wisdom on how to stand out in a male dominated environment and how being the only female in the room can work to their advantage. The energy on the Zoom was indescribable after Christine spoke.  

Adrienne, a senior client relationship manager, took the participants through an overview of our Sales department and the unconventional career path that led her to this point. There was actual shock on everyone’s faces when they learned Adrienne first started in fashion. I was cracking up! It’s literally a testament to the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” (such a classic!)—you never know where life may take you, and the journey to get there is the best part.    

A personal highlight of mine was Jeanie Coomber, an external professional development coach, and her session on communication and confidence. She offered helpful advice about verbal and non-verbal cues and took students through a leadership exercise about how to best present themselves. Confession: When I first started out in recruiting, I was petrified of speaking in public, something required by my role. But the only way to overcome this was to practice, practice, practice—which was echoed by Jeanie in this session—so this really resonated both with me and students. I was blown away by the overwhelming support showed to one another as students put themselves out there in the exercise. A reminder that this program was truly worth the effort. 

To cap off the day, students applied what they learned by delivering team presentations. With the help of MarketAxess employees as buddies, the five presentations that were delivered were unique and spoke to the amazing creativity and teamwork of the day. The detail and effort showed an understanding far beyond your typical college-age student. 

I’m still in disbelief at how flawlessly executed this program was, with help from an amazing team of powerhouse female colleagues to help pull this off. It was incredibly gratifying to see my vision come to life. I’ve said, many times, that the young women who participated were impressive, and this group continued to impress as we interviewed them for our 2022 summer internship and full-time opportunities.  

This gives me hope that the future truly is female, and we can’t wait to share more about how we’re moving the needle at MarketAxess.